ISSUED ONLY TO MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION.
The Confidential Monthly Journal of the British Engineers' Association
The Bulletin of the THE BRITISH ENGINEERS' ASSOCIATION BEA
Edited by D. A. BREMNER, O.B.E., M.I.MECH.E., M.I.E.E.
The Director of The British Engineers' Association.
THE DEFENCE PROGRAMME
INDUSTRY AND PRICES
This country is now faced with the urgent necessity of expanding its means of defence after seventeen years of post-war contraction, the political motives and explanations for which need not be examined here. The enormous practical difficulties and political dangers of a race against time to re-expand and to bring up to date the defensive forces of the Crown, under our particular form of democratic government, would not seem to have been envisaged by Parliament and the people. If these difficulties and dangers had been foreseen and their complex nature understood, it is hard to believe that the nation would have been foolish and reckless enough to run the risks attending the large measure of disarmament upon which it ventured.
It is a truth that is half a lie to allege that our disarmament was an altruistic sacrifice in the interests of the future peace of the world. The other half of the story is that, after the trials and privations of the War, our people demanded greatly increased social expenditure to provide them with greater ease of circumstance and in order to get what they wanted they not only tolerated but actually insisted upon hazardous reductions in our expenditure on national defence. It was inevitable that, at some time, the price of this self-indulgence would have to be paid. The bill has now been presented, and we shall be very fortunate if the fates give us enough time to meet it. We are already in process of paying a heavy penalty in the humiliation of impotence to give practical effect to our plentiful declarations of pious policy.
Unhappily for the laggard, military aviation has reduced the time interval between the quarrel and the blow, in the case of a war in Europe to a few hours at the best and to a few minutes at the worst.
It being certain that a pathetic weakness on our part, even if supported by an eloquent appeal to Christian principles, would not protect us and our vast worldly possessions, our only course is to make haste with the reparation of our defences, in the hope that its accomplishment may not be too late. Haste in the execution of such a task being potentially the parent of inefficiency and extravagance, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that no effort will be spared to take whatever may be the most effective measures to prevent the propagation of these evils.
Now, more than ever, in the history of the world, productive industry and public utility services are the very sinews of war. The next war will be a war not merely between the fighting forces of the
Vol. 17 No. 2 March-April, 1936 Page 24